Aliens: What If... is a five-issue comic book series that was published by Marvel Comics. It was written by Paul Reiser, Leon Reiser, Adam F. Goldberg, Brian Volk-Weiss, and Hans Rodionoff, illustrated by Guiu Vilanova, colored by Yen Nitro, lettered by VC's Clayton Cowles, and edited by Sarah Brunstad. Cover art was provided by Phil Noto while variant cover art was provided by various artists. It was released on March 6, 2024.

In Marvel's Alien comics line, Aliens: What If... was be preceded by Alien: Descendant, and published concurrently with Alien: Black, White & Blood.

Publisher's summary[]

#1: WHAT IF…CARTER BURKE HAD LIVED? For years, fans of James Cameron’s legendary Aliens questioned whether Carter Burke, a company man more hateable than the Xenos themselves, had actually survived the traumatic events on the terraforming colony Hadley’s Hope. Now the actor behind the beloved villain, Paul Reiser, joins his son Leon and the star-studded team of writers and producers Adam F. Goldberg, Brian Volk-Weiss and Hans Rodionoff for a journey back to Hadley’s Hope and the twisted escape of a man who should have died.

#2: WHAT IF…CARTER BURKE HAD LIVED? Thirty-five years after the disaster on Hadleys Hope, company man Carter Burke is eeking out a cursed existence on a backwater asteroid. With his once-promising career in the toilet, Burke’s only remaining purpose in life is to care for his daughter, Brie. She hates him, probably for being a horrible person. And when she finds out what he’s up to now? It’s not going to be a friendly reunion. Has Burke learned his lesson, or is he about to get all of his companions killed again?

#3: WHAT IF…CARTER BURKE HAD LIVED? The facehuggers hit the fan as Burke's plan goes horribly awry! Desperate to capture the life-saving adaptative qualities of Xenomorph DNA – without Weyland-Yutani's knowledge – Burke and his only friend, a damaged combat synth named Cygnus, have brought Burke's own worst nightmare right into his living room. The trap is set – now they need a victim to snap it. What the hell is Burke doing, and how does his daughter, Brie, fit into all this?

#4: WHAT IF…CARTER BURKE HAD LIVED? Or more importantly, what if Carter Burke was about to die a different, even more horrible death?! Xenomorphs are loose on the mining asteroid where Burke’s made his small sad life and even-more-insignificant career. Panic is about to break out, slaughter to follow – and once again, it’s all Burke’s fault. Is this justice at last for the consummate company man? Or is there more to Burke’s character hidden beneath the mountain of mistakes?

#5: WHAT IF…CARTER BURKE HAD LIVED? As if Burke wasn’t already the worst boss in this galaxy, he just kicked off the office party from hell. Xenomorphs are loose in the mines, in the vents…hell, someone better check under the copier. It’s all to save his beloved wife and redeem himself in the eyes of his estranged daughter, but Burke’s in WAY over his head. Did he escape Hadley’s Hope all those years ago just to meet the same fate now? We make no promises, True Believer – except the promise of entertainment!


In the late 2150's, a terraforming colony known as Hadley's Hope was established on moon LV-426, funded in part by the multinational corporation Weyland-Yutani. Unbeknownst to the colonists, the moon was also the crash-site of an ancient extraterrestrial spacecraft that carried a dangerous alien species as its cargo. Weyland-Yutani, however, had known of the creatures' existence for decades and secretly sought specimens for study and profit.

In 2179, contact with the colony was suddenly lost. A junior Weyland-Yutani executive, Carter Burke, enlisted a team of "grunts" to join his investigation into the matter. Upon arrival, they found the colony overrun with Xenomorphs and nearly all the colonists dead. It was soon revealed that Burke's only purpose was to obtain a Xenomorph sample, which he was willing to sacrifice human lives to get. In the end Burke's greed cost him his life and the lives of others on Hadley's Hope.

But what if... Carter Burke survived?

Right when the squadron elected to execute Burke for his deceitfulness, the electricity went out. Gorman was ordered to guard Burke to prevent him from escaping while the others investigated the blackout. When the survivors subsequently found themselves set upon by a horde of Xenomorphs, Burke implored Gorman to do something, and as soon as the Lieutenant released him to engage the Xenomorphs, Burke slipped away amidst the chaos, locking the survivors in the operations center with the Xenomorphs. Upon fleeing through the med lab, Burke found himself face-to-face with an alien before being cocooned within it's hive.

Back in the operations center, Lt. William Gorman and PFC Jenette Vasquez had been trapped by the creatures. Not wanting to be taken back to the Hive and impregnated, Gorman and Vasquez killed themselves and the several Xenomorphs that surrounded them by detonating a grenade with an explosion strong enough to also knock Burke free from the hive, allowing him to escape. Unbeknownst to the remaining survivors, Burke snuck aboard the dropship and made it back on board the USS Sulaco undetected. From a distance, Burke watched Ripley fight off a Queen Xenomorph with a power loader before stowing himself away in the ship's cargo hold until everyone was asleep in their hypersleep chambers.


  • Lieutenant Gorman, whose first name was revealed to be Scott in the 2014 reference book Alien: The Weyland-Yutani Report, was referred to as William in the first issue of Aliens: What If..., which is a reference to the name of actor William Hope who portrayed the character in the 1986 feature film Aliens.
  • Within the opening pages of issue #1, an alternate timeline of events depicted Burkes ability to escape from the hive in which he had been cocooned when Gorman and Vasquez, trapped within the operations center by a swarm of Xenomorphs, detonated a grenade, killing themselves and the Xenomorphs that surrounded them. The blast being the reason Burke was knocked loose from the hive's resin, allowing him to escape. Though, in the 1986 feature film Aliens, it was stated that the hive was located beneath the atmospheric processing station, miles away from the colony's operations center, where Vasquez and Gorman took their own lives.

Reprint history[]

The five-issue series Aliens: What If... will be collected as a trade paperback that is set to be released on October 1, 2024 and will reuse cover art from issue #2 by Phil Noto.


Variant covers[]